Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) TAROT FORMAT
The original Rider-Waite Tarot deck was first published in 1909 by William Rider & Son of London for Arthur Edward Waite and designed by the artist, Pamela Colman Smith. The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck was the first seventy-eight card Tarot deck to contain seventy- eight pictures.
Before the release of Miss Smiths’ designs only the Major Arcana and Court Cards (or trumps) contained pictures. Each Subject Card (or pip) featured the designated number of suit symbols floating in air. You can see the difference for yourself in our example (below) with Card 46 the Six of Cups from the Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo on the left and Card 46 the Six of Cups from New Palladini Tarot by U.S. Games on the right.
The more comfortable you are with whatever key words and definitions you automatically apply to your favorite deck of tarot cards the easier and more intuitively you can conduct an accurate (not cookie-cutter) Tarot whenever you read from any other tarot Deck whose imagery and colors appeal to you.
To clarify that statement, example three (below) features the Eight of Swords from Lo Scarabeos Universal Tarot Deck (on the left) and U.S. Games Connolloy Tarot Deck (on the right)
In this instance, the only similarity between each card is the name and number of the Suit—Eight of Swords. Look closely. If you’re a beginner you may need to read the definition or keywords accompany the Tarot deck you’re learning from. However, should you be more advanced, feel free to apply the definition that you associate with the Eight of Swords. Chances are that whatever definition or keywords you choose to apply will be appropriate for both cards. If so, well and good. However, if your familiar definition doesn’t seem to express everything that you “feel” when you look at each card – that’s even better and, perfectly natural!
Working with the Tarot tends to enhance your awareness and psychic sensitivity, via color and form, and each Tarot deck has something different to offer. Whether or not your definition for a particular Tarot card ALWAYS agrees with what you first learned is NOT important as long as the information you provide is accurate.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of your first Tarot deck, reading different decks from time to time, is the best way to keep your perspective fresh and your intuition sharp!